Chock this up to another dish that I have never heard of before. While I was watching yet another YouTube video on the treadmill, I saw Koshari. Koshari is the national dish of Egypt. With all of the Middle eastern food I eat, I am surprised that I have never heard of this. I found a recipe from the Daring Gourmet that looked great! Time to try something new. A good time for this dish too because I’m sure you, as well as myself, are recovering from all of the rich food from the holidays. While on this subject, hopefully you are not trying to crash diet your way back to your weight prior. First, give yourself a break. Just work on going back to normal eating. Enjoying food during the holiday is not some kind of sin you need to pay for in January. Second, make healthy food you want to eat. This is why I picked out this dish to make. A lot of flavor and healthy. Something that you would definitely want to eat. True story, I had one of the local people in our town look at our blog and describe the recipes as fancy restaurant food. I don’t look at these recipes that way, but then I have to consider the worldview of others. Not everyone goes out and eats food from other cultures. I digress…
This dish reminds me of mujaderra. That dish is lentils, rice, caramelized onions, and lots of spice. It is one of my favorite dishes. This one has a tomato sauce and the addition of pasta. I’m in. I can make some changes to the recipe to make it fit our calorie and nutrition profile a little better. Here are the original stats:
Here’s what I changed:
- I increased the servings from 4 to 10 to reduce the calories
- I removed the added salt to reduce the sodium
- I replaced the white rice with brown for added nutrition
- I replaced the tomato sauce with pumpkin puree to increase the vitamin A.
- I replaced the white pasta with a red lentil variety to increase the protein.
- I added cabbage and red bell pepper to increase the vitamin C.
Here are the final stats:
Here is the final recipe:
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 4.5 ounces red lentil pasta
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 garlic clove, quartered
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound shredded green cabbage
- 4 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 jalapeno, minced
For the Sauce:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp baharat spice blend (see recipe here)
- ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes (omit if you dislike spicy hot)
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
Crispy Onion Garnish:
- 2 large onions, finely sliced
- 1 (15 oz) can low sodium garbanzo beans
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and fry it for 2 minutes, then add the vegetable stock. Bring it to a boil, decrease the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Rinse the lentils under cold water and add them to another medium saucepan with 2 cups of water. Add the garlic, cumin and bay leaf and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, but not mushy. Strain any excess liquid if necessary.
- Cook the macaroni according to package instructions until al dente.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the peppers and cook until soft. Add in the cabbage and cooked until browned and wilted.
- Note: Prepare the rice, macaroni and lentils and vegetables while the sauce is simmering and leave them covered in the pots to keep warm.
To make sauce:
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the onion. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown. Add the pumpkin puree, baharat, and pepper to taste, chile flakes (if using) and red wine vinegar. Bring it to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To make the onion topping, heat a skillet and spray with cooking spray. Add the onions and saute until dark brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan to and cool.
- Add the rice, lentils and macaroni to a large bowl and toss to combine (or simply scoop out desired amounts of each onto the plates). Sprinkle a little baharat over each portion and serve topped with some of the spicy sauce. Top with garbanzo beans, the onions and another sprinkle of baharat. Serve warm.